AT&T has spent many years maintaining a policy against unlocking Blackberry issued to users on their own network. This Sunday however, this strategy is due to change as this long upheld policy will no longer remain in order and Blackberry unlocking will be made possible for existing network as well the old ones. This transition will benefit many users as they will now be able to take advantage of much cheaper services when they travel abroad. According to the Apple insider, one of the prerequisites to unlocking a Blackberry on the AT&T network is that the subscribers’ contract time period should have elapsed. As the majority users are on a two-year contract, after the two-year period expires they are eligible to get their Blackberry unlocked. If the service contract time frame has been completed then the second requirement is that their account with AT&T should also have a good ranking. Furthermore, users who are still under contract with AT&T for their Blackberry and haven’t as yet finished the respective service period can also get their device unlocked but will have to first pay an early termination fee. Having an unlocked phone is absolutely ideal for people traveling across borders as they can save a lot of money by using a local carrier from the country they are going to while using their own phone. AT&T can be costly when used internationally and purchasing a SIM from a local GSM wireless carrier can be far more cost effective. People who have Blackberry that are unlocked from AT&T can also transfer to T-mobile’s network. The data speed on T-mobile however, is not as fast as 3G. Sprint and Verizon on the other hand make use of CDMA technology which operates free of a SIM card. Therefore, individuals with unlocked AT&T phones will not be able to shift to these two networks. The update from AT&T’s own website on Sunday morning stated that Blackberry are still not being unlocked, whereas news reports mentioned that the unlocking service was now available at the carriers’ service stores. Other carriers such as Sprint and Verizon do permit their users to have their Blackberry unlocked for international use, even when the customer is still in contract with the company. The only condition to this is that the persons’ accounts with the firm should have a good rating and that too, for a short period of time. It is still not clear what may have caused AT&T to change this long standing policy of theirs. Though nonetheless, this is good news for the users who may still be hanging on to their old Blackberry. This new service by the carrier will undoubtedly prove to be less expensive for users rather than forcing them to pay an arm and a leg for international roaming while using AT&T services in foreign countries. For people who are still considering investing in a Blackberry, Apple does have factory unlocked phones which have been available at the full price since mid 2011.
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